Dinner: Duck bacon, spaetzle, wilted kale and leeks

So, I brag about being a pretty good cook.  Here’s an example – you judge.

We had visited my brother and sister-in-law just north of Cincinnati Ohio last weekend, and as part of the outing went to Jungle Jim’s – a giant destination food emporium.  You can find just about any exotic foodstuff from around the world there.  While looking for some out-of-the-ordinary breakfast meats, I found some duck bacon.

Fast forward to Friday evening, as I stopped at the grocery on the way home from work, and I saw they had fresh kale. Hmmm, I thought, I betcha this would be good wilted with some of the duck bacon on or beside it.

So that became the heart of Saturday’s supper.  I wanted a starchy side dish, and for whatever reason, I thought of spaetzle.  Now mind you, I hadn’t cooked spaetzle before.  I didn’t even know how to make it.  Never fear – I follow Hank Shaw’s “hunter – angler – gardener – chef“, where I found a simple enough recipe for spaetzle.  (He served it under his venison stroganoff.)

OK, I’ve got all the ingredients (well, except the heavy cream for the spaetzle, but I can fake that with some milk, and maybe a little butter if necessary).  I had some left-over tops from last night’s leeks, so I figured I could use them instead of just yellow onions in with the leeks.  Time to get to work.

Now, just ’cause I’m crazy, I thought I would substitute whole-wheat flour for the white flour that Hank’s recipe called for.  This wasn’t my best idea – the dumplings ended up stiff and heavy.  (Next time, a third to a half whole-wheat and the rest all-purpose.)  And I don’t have a spaetzle maker, or even a colander or grater with large enough holes, so I figured that I could just do them by tiny spoon-drops into the boiling water.  Yes, you can make them that way – but they end up way to big, so they don’t cook through well enough.  🙁 (And it’s slow as hell to make them all this way.)

And the duck bacon?  OK, if very salty – it was hard to tell that it was duck and not just pork or even heavily seasoned turkey.  The kale with leeks worked out well, but it needed more seasoning.  (I had put some dill weed and dried basil on them, but you couldn’t taste it very much.)  I drank a good domestic micro-brewery porter with it.

Net score – about 6.5 or 7 out of 10.  Not my best work, but I know how to improve it for next time.  Would you have eaten this?  More importantly, would you have enjoyed it?


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